Universiteit Leiden

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Maaike Warnaar

University Lecturer International Relations and Politics of Iran and the Middle East

Dr. M. Warnaar
+31 71 527 7665

Who talks for Iran and to what effect? is the central question in my research and teaching. My research focuses on the dialogical relationship between foreign policy and cultural representation. It builds bridges between International Relations - a social science - and humanities-based studies of culture. In my course History of Contemporary Iran my students and I make sense of Iranian history 'as discourse', connecting it with power. During my Methodologies course, the ResMAs and PhDs in Area Studies engage in an ongoing conversation about methodological questions in the study of human society and culture.

More information about Maaike Warnaar

Fields of interest

Foreign relations of Iran, Iranian history, Pahlavi Studies, methodologies in the social science and humanities.


My current research focuses on Netherlands-Iran relations (1959-1979). I attempt to make sense of these warm relations by studying these in the context of cultural representations of Iran in the Netherlands in the same period. See: https://www.nwo.nl/en/research-and-results/programmes/Talent+Scheme/awards/veni+awards/veni+awards+2016/

Nederland en Iran onderhielden warme relaties in de jaren '60 en '70. Iran werd gezien als een achtergesteld land op weg naar modernisering onder leiding van een visionaire Sjah. In mijn onderzoek, kijk ik naar de ontwikkelingen in de relaties tussen Nederland en Iran. Daarbij gaat mijn aandacht in het bijzonder uit naar de wisselwerking tussen de relaties met Iran enerzijds en de Nederlandse beeldvorming over Iran anderzijds. Wat daarbij opvalt is dat het positieve beeld over Iran stand hield, zelfs toen er gaandeweg meer bekend werd over het despotisme van de Sjah en het Iraanse verzet daar tegen.

Teaching activities

First semester: History of Contemporary Iran.
Second semester: Methodologies in the Social Sciences and Humanities.

Curriculum vitae


2006-2012: University of St Andrews, School of International Relations, Doctoral degree (June 19th 2012). Dissertation “We belong to the future, the tyrants belong to the Past – Iranian foreign policy discourse and behaviour between 2005 and 2011.” (No corrections.) 

1999-2005: University of Amsterdam, Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences. Master Degree in International Relations. Thesis title: “Shaken not stirred: Iranian foreign policy and domestic disaster.” (8.5) 
Minor programme International Development Studies (2005). 
Foundation year Cultural Anthropology and Sociology of non-Western Civilizations(2000). 

2003-2004: McGill University, Montreal, Canada, Faculty of Arts. Minor programme Middle East Studies (2004). 


August 2012 - Today: Assistant Professor, Leiden University, Leiden University Institute for Area Studies, BA and MA International Studies. 

January 2009 - July 2012: Associate Lecturer, University of Amsterdam, Faculty of Political Science and Institute for Interdisciplinary Studies.

Grants and awards 

NWO Veni (2017-2021)

University Lecturer International Relations and Politics of Iran and the Middle East

  • Faculty of Humanities
  • Leiden Institute for Area Studies

Work address

Matthias de Vrieshof
Matthias de Vrieshof 4
2311 BZ Leiden
Room number 0.09c


  • Warnaar M., Zaccara L., Aarts P., Ehteshami A., Baabood A., Hoetjes G., Pala O., Foley S., Radhan L., Masry S., Sen G. & Shahandeh B. (Eds.) (2016), Iran's Relations with the Arab States of the Gulf: Common Interests over Historic Rivalry (Gulf Research Center Book). Berlin and London: Gerlach. other
  • Warnaar M. (2016), Why Can’t We Be Friends? Bridging the Divide between Iran and the GCC. In: Warnaar M., Zaccara L., Aarts P. (Eds.) Iran's Relations with the Arab States of the Gulf: Common Interests over Historic Rivalry.. book chapter
  • Warnaar Maaike (2013), Iranian Foreign Policy during Ahmadinejad: Ideology and Action. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. book
  • Hinnebusch R.A., Ehteshami A., Huuhtanen H., Raunio P., Warnaar M. & Zintl T. (2013), Authoritarian Resilience and International Linkages in Iran and Syria. In: Heydemann S., Leenders R. (Eds.) Middle East Authoritarianisms: Governance, Contestation, and Regime Resilience in Syria and Iran.: Stanford University Press. book chapter
  • Warnaar M. (2012), Gramsci’s Bridges: A Dialectical Approach to International Studies., International Studies Review 14(4): 666–686. article in journal
  • Warnaar M. (2012), Shaken, not stirred: Iran’s international relations and the 2003 Bam earthquake.. In: Sensarma S., Sankar A. (Eds.) Bringing Together: Challenges & Opportunities of Regional & International Cooperation for Disaster Risk Management.. New Delhi: Concept Publishing. book chapter
  • Warnaar M. (2011), So Many Similarities: Linking Domestic Dissent to Foreign Threat in Iran, Hivos Working Paper (20). article in journal

No relevant ancillary activities

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